TANF in South Carolina, officially known as the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, offers financial assistance to low-income families. What is TANF and what is it for? The program’s goal is to support families who may need help providing for their families while also providing the tools they need to get back on their feet. In addition to cash benefits, the program also has employment training and placement opportunities. These are typically mandatory in order to maintain benefits.
Knowing what is TANF is only one half, you must also know the eligibility requirements. As the program helps low-income families, income is one of the main criteria to obtain entry into the program. There are also other factors, such as residency, that can affect your eligibility. The sections below will provide an overview of the TANF in South Carolina.
Who qualifies for TANF in South Carolina?
Assessing your eligibility for TANF benefits is one of the first steps you must complete. The first of the TANF eligibility requirements is legal status in the United States. This includes refugees and individuals with permanent residency.
Applicants must also live in South Carolina to qualify. The program caters to low-income families who may be struggling to find employment opportunities. The state will determine who is eligible for TANF benefits. As such, applicants must show a financial need for cash assistance. Typically, this requires having a combined value in income and assets less than a certain amount. There are also requirements surrounding dependents and their age.
How to Apply for TANF in South Carolina
You may apply for TANF if you meet the requirements. To submit a TANF application, you may do so by visiting your local county office in person. Before you make the trip, it is important to call the office ahead of time. You will need to know their hours of operation and what documents you may need to bring. While you may not have to submit any documentation at that moment, it may be helpful to know what information you will have to provide so you can have them on hand. You may also submit an application for TANF in South Carolina through the program’s website portal. The process typically takes about 30 minutes to complete and does not require an online account.
The last options to submit an application for TANF in South Carolina is via mail or fax. For this method, you must identify your nearby Department of Social Services (DSS) county office. Once you locate it, you must obtain their address and/or fax information to send in your application.
With every method listed above to apply for TANF, it is important to know that you will have to provide personal information. Not only on yourself, as a head of household, but also all other family members for whom you request cash assistance. The type of information you will have to provide includes:
- Social Security Numbers.
- Income amounts, sources and frequency.
- Housing expenses.
- Health insurance.
The next step in the TANF application process typically entails an in-person TANF interview with the head of household and the other beneficiaries in the family. This is done to verify the family’s documentation, assess their needs and explain the program’s goal. Once that is complete, applicants can expect to hear back about their approval into the program or rejection. For details about applying for TANF benefits in South Carolina, download our free and comprehensive guide.
How much cash assistance will I get in South Carolina?
Caseworkers will determine TANF benefits by family size, family structure, income and employment. As such, it is difficult to estimate how much cash assistance you and your family may receive. These factors can vary greatly from one family to the next. Only a caseworker can tell you how much you will receive once they review your application.
To get an estimate of what to expect, you may visit the DSS website and use the South Carolina TANF calculator. It takes less than 15 minutes to complete and lets you know if you meet TANF qualifications. It will also estimate the cash benefit amount you could expect for you and your family. Download our guide for a comprehensive look at cash benefits in the TANF program.
Once you do receive benefits, you may ask, “Do you have to pay back TANF?” the answer is no, in most cases. The program is a grant from the state and the federal government to assist individuals who are struggling to provide for their families. As such, there is no repayment requirement, only mandatory activities while in the program. This can include job-search training and workshops. However, if a TANF official determines that a recipient is violating program guidelines, then he or she may have to repay the cash benefits. Defrauding the program by selling benefits or allowing non-registered individuals to use the card is cause for repayment.
How long does it take to get TANF benefits in South Carolina?
Once a caseworker receives your application for TANF in South Carolina, it generally takes about month to fully process it. If you receive a TANF denial notice, then the letter must state the reasons why the TANF office rejected you along with information on how to request an appeal hearing.
“When will I receive my TANF benefits,” is a common question among new beneficiaries. Generally, soon after the approval process, you can expect to start receiving benefits on an SC ePay card, also known as an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card. As for what time does TANF deposit the cash benefits, it varies by family. In most cases, recipients get a monthly or semi-monthly on the same date. The TANF payment schedule tends to remain the same throughout the entire length of the recipient’s term in the program.
How long can you receive TANF in South Carolina?
There is a time limit on how long you can receive TANF benefits once you enter the program. The federal government has a five-year lifetime limit on receiving benefits. For TANF in South Carolina, beneficiaries can receive cash assistance continuously for only a few years in a 10-year time period. This means that recipients cannot be in the program for five consecutive years. However, over the course of their lifetime, they have access to the program for five total years. There are exceptions for those have special circumstances and may need additional assistance.
How can I check my TANF status in South Carolina?
There are several ways to receive an update on the status of your TANF application. If you submitted a TANF online application, then you can check your status by visiting the website portal where you applied. If you completed the application process in person or via mail, then you can simply contact your local DSS during hours of operation through their office TANF number. You may need to provide identifying information to receive the details of your case.